Dear College Graduate
Going to college has become one of the most popular and generic steps to take after one ends their high school years. As a first-generation immigrant college was always something that was expected of me. I knew that college was something that I had to experience in order to create a better life for my family and I. During college, I was met with a lot of great experiences, but faced many struggles as well. It forced me to learn different ways to navigate the real world and to truly learn more about our education system. Needless to say, once I graduated undergrad it brought me a great sense of accomplishment. It also placed me into an optimistic mindset. I believed that all my problems would fade away once I was done with school. However, no one prepared me for what I would feel emotionally following my commencement.
The class of 2020 encountered many challenges, far more than any other graduating class. We were faced with a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic, the economic collapse, racial riots, and outlandish political issues, amidst our own personal challenges. Not only were we forced to finish the rest of the semester online, but many of us also missed the crowning moment of our graduation ceremony. I believe that not having a ceremony made me feel as if there was no exit from my wild, young years. Instead, I jumped in feet first into the real world of adulthood.
No one explained to me how life after graduation would be. There were many different factors that I wished I could have prepared for prior to it actually happening. For instance, I was applying to jobs that I wanted but I did not have any hands-on experience or any professional development that would help me secure the position. With the unemployment rate at 41% for college graduates, the constant fear of never landing a good job weighed over my head. Many of the jobs that I was applying to constantly overlooked me and denied me. It was a constant battle of trying to force myself to stay positive all while questioning whether I was even good enough for an entry level position at a baby boomer’s company.
I believe that college has forced students to suffice to this overwhelming work culture, only to not have any real work experience when you have graduated. Our classes and grades have only shown us that we know how to do the work well enough to get a good grade, but that is it. Our classes have not positioned us with many of the requisite steps to help us connect with other employers and to market ourselves.
After months of quarantine, dead end interviews, endless LinkedIn profile conversations and job applications, I finally landed a job early December. The job was not anything that I expected to be, nor was it in my field. However, it helped me become motivated about what life could be. I tell you all of this to say, if you are a recent graduate or about to graduate continue fighting for what you want. Take the time to market yourself and learn new ways to network with people. Getting yourself out there will always seem scary at first but all you have to do is start. Also, take the time to embody the art of patience and manifesting the things that you want. It will come to you in due time.